Ukraine’s military says it has entered a key logistics hub in Kharkiv in a lightning counter-offensive that has also forced Russian troops to pull back from two areas in the northeastern region, where Kiev’s army has made significant advances in the past week.
Ukrainian special forces on Saturday published images on social media showing camouflage-clad officers with automatic weapons in Kupiansk town in Kharkiv. It “was and will always be Ukrainian,” their statement said.
The town of some 27,000 people, which sits on a crucial supply route for Russian forces, fell within the first week after the Kremlin ordered its offensive against Ukraine on February 24.
As Ukraine announced fresh gains, Russia said it was pulling forces out of the towns of Balakliia and Izyum — also in Kharkiv.
Balakliia and Izyum are at crucial points on the supply routes for its campaign in the eastern Donbass region.
Ukraine had already claimed the capture of Balakliia, advancing into Russian-held areas south of Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second-largest city.
And on Saturday, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff posted photos of Ukrainian forces on the outskirts of Izyum, which was a major base for Russian forces in the region.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine’s army had recaptured around “2,000 kilometres of territory” in September.
Late Friday, he had said his troops had retaken some 30 towns and villages in the Kharkiv region as part of the sweep.